It dawned on me a few days ago that I need (want?) to take on broad what being an artist means in a more complete sense of the word … or perhaps ‘concept’. And that I need to do this in the light of both “here” and “now”. There is no doubt that I can call myself a creative person, or even an artistic person but can I really call myself an artist when I cherry-pick the bits that I like and do not deal with the bits that I do not like or find difficult. It is good fun to make things in the studio, to dream up fantastic projects, to take courses, go to openings and exhibitions. I do not find it so much fun to get myself shows, to write project and funding applications, to make work that might have commercial appeal. If I am unwilling to accept the more challenging aspects of being an artist can I really expect to enjoy all the exciting and fun parts?
So, over the next year I will do what I think needs to be done so that I feel right in calling myself an artist. I will also ask for feedback as I may have the wrong idea about things, and I am very aware that I am still learning about the Swedish art scene.
This afternoon I took a walk around the industrial area by the habour here in Enköping. It was a preliminary studio hunt – “hunt” is perhaps a little to violent and aggressive, “search” might be a better choice. As I re-read, and wonder about, that last sentence I notice that I feel more comfortable with a more academic “search” than with a competitive “hunt”. This is a good example of what I mean about being more acutely aware of the here and now. My world is not academia, I am out in the market place and it might be good and useful if I acknowledge, understand, and adapt to this! And academia is hardly non-competitive – sometimes I wonder which fantasy world bubble I have been living in! I should be careful not to confuse the positive and negative sides of passion, drive, and commitment, rather I should keep both sides in balance – to hunt for something is not inherently wrong, how we hunt and what we do with our prey are other questions!
Now back to the studio hunt! There are some amazing dis-used buildings by the water, most however are too large and too in need of structural repair. They are certainly too much for me to take on though I will get in touch with the property owners and ask about small to medium size premises. In thinking through what I want for a studio I have realised that it is important for me to be in town rather than out in the countryside, that I want somewhere I can work the year, and day, round, that the property has good access and at least basic utilities and facilities. There are a number of vacant shops in and around the town centre but these are less appealing than something more industrial. Of course if I find something suitable and it happens to be a former shop I am not going to turn it down! It is going to be interesting to find out what the rent is like here – I really have no idea.
Since early November I have worked almost full-time – this was never my plan (probably not Tim’s either but he has had a lot of jobs)! Knowing that there is quite a lot of work up until May it seems foolish to take a studio now and not have time to use it. It is nice to feel that I have time to investigate what my options are. In the meantime I have my website to update and at least a couple of leads to follow up about potential exhibition venues.
I am very much looking forward to the coming year(s)!